EX-MILITANTS EMBRACE REFORMATION TRAINING , SAYS UN CONSULTANT
The resource person and head of the training team at the ongoing transformation training programme for repentant militants, Dr. Bernard Lafayette, has expressed satisfaction at the level tolerance and maturity displayed by the ex-militants. He described the exercise as not only historic, but an indication that Nigerians can come together after all conflicts.
Dr. Lafayette, a former senior fellow at the University of Rhodes Island, United States of America, and a consultant with the United Nations on Non-violence Management, said the way and manner the repentant militants embraced the training was a complete contrast to the impressions the larger society had about them that they would never repent. He stressed that although it was not an easy task for them to just start adjusting to civil life after many years of struggle in the creeks.
The international scholar who is currently at Emory University, USA, said: 'You know what has happened here? These are those who have been in arms as comrades for many years. But for the first time, their fellow comrades took time to show the other one how to write his name. All those years, they were willing to fight and die for each other, but they didn't take time to show him how to write his name. This is what is happening with transformation. It is just not with the visuals but the transformation is increasing our value for others.'
Continuing, he said, 'These their colleagues now training them in return would become more valuable to others because they can help them learn how to deal with conflicts everywhere. Most of them were almost in tears on Sunday, July 4, 2010 because many of them were angry because the food had not come. But fortunately enough, they were studying this non-violence when food came and they said we are not going to abandon the training rather the food should wait for them. So priority has changed.'
'Some of those who were causing disturbances came to us and said they were ready to pass the exams. We thought it was not going to be possible, but in just two hours, they had learnt everything. I could not believe it. We grilled them, we asked them questions and they answered very well. Nigerians are really smart. This is why I spent more time here as an investment to humanity and I predict that Nigeria would be the model and example for the UN to apply this approach to countries in conflict all over the world. And those who are going to help with the training would be Nigerians.'
'We have Nigerians who would help carry out the training. 70 ex-militants have been hired. They are working. We have 140 Nigerians who are in other professions working here too. They are the ones that are helping to make this happen because they are the ones that have already been certified in Kingian non-violence to have been trained now. I must tell you, Nigerians who thought this was a joke have realized that we are serious. Other Nigerians who went through this, some of them did not pass the first time because they didn't know we were serious. Now they know we are serious and together we are going to effect many changes all over the world,' he revealed.
Lafayette further contended that 'Nigerians are one, there are differences and conflicts and when these conflicts are exaggerated we forget what we have in common. Nigerians in the non-violence training came to understand that we are one. We are people. In addition to that, we are people in a family all over the world. Nigeria is going to show the world how to come together and rather than use their arms to hold weapons, they are going to use their arms to embrace one another.'
Equally reacting, some of the ex-militants welcomed the development, saying it would make them live normal lives.